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Barney Frank is the first U.S. Congressman to voluntarily announce his homosexuality. He is also known for his work on the 2008 American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act.
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He is well-known for his involvement in the House's Financial Services Committee, and in mortgage foreclosure bailout issues.
Shortly after Frank announced his imminent departure from Congress,
the Washington Post published an article exploring the congressman's effect on the 2007 housing crisis. Its conclusion was stated in the article's headline: "Barney Frank didn't cause the housing crisis."
Fannie Mae fought aggressively to minimize federal regulation of its activities and attempts to tax its profits. Among its tactics was giving "extravagant favors" to influential lawmakers, including Frank, who received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. But in 2005, Frank also attempted to help sponsor a bipartisan House bill to create an independent regulator for the corporations: it died in the Senate.
Following the subprime mortgage crisis, Frank supported the passage of the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act, which was created to protect homeowners from foreclosure. The law passed in 2008, and is now considered one of the most important and complex issues of Frank's career.
Twenty-five years after he revealed to the nation that he was gay, a 72-year-old Frank married his longtime boyfriend, Jim Ready, who was 42 at the time. On the evening of Saturday, July 7, 2012, Frank and Ready exchanged vows at the Boston Marriott Newton in Boston, in a ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Many political luminaries, including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, attended the ceremony, but members of the news media were not permitted to attend. By exchanging vows in Massachusetts six months before the end of his congressional career, Frank "took another deliberate first step ... [and will] spend the rest of his time in office as the nation's first congressman in a same-sex marriage," according to the Washington Post.
In an interview with a New York Magazine reporter in April 2012, Frank said that he wanted to get married while in office because he thinks "it's important that [his] colleagues interact with a married gay man." He also told the reporter why he decided to leave Congress at the end of his term. "I've been doing this since October of 1967, and I've seen too many people stay here beyond when they should," Frank said. "I don't have the energy that I used to have. I don't like it anymore, I'm tired, and my nerves are frayed. And I dislike the negativism of the media. I think the media has gotten cynical and negative to a point where it's unproductive."
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